Paying For It

Private school can be a big investment. Learn more about tuition costs, extra fees and the funding options available. We'll cover financial aid, scholarships, and outside financing. Explore some of the most expensive schools and learn where your child can attend free.
View the most popular articles in Paying For It:
What is financial aid? Financial aid is money given by individual private schools to help families pay for a private school education. Private schools give families millions of dollars annually to help them afford a private school education.
 
What is the purpose of financial aid? Financial aid is one tool private schools can use to make their school more diverse. Yes, many years ago, private schools had a less than positive reputation for being elitist. But thankfully, times have changed. Being able to pay for a private school education is no longer the only thing that matters. If your child has the qualifications which the school is looking for but you cannot afford to send her, then financial aid is certainly an option which you need to explore.
 
Read what one of the most prestigious private schools in the United States of America has to say about diversity:
 
"Andover's broad socio-economic diversity is a hallmark of the Academy as displayed in the inclusive distribution of financial aid grants to low-, middle- and upper- middle income families." 
 

 
Phillips Andover, like a great many private schools, has a Need Blind Admission policy in place. What that means is that the school does not look at your financial circumstances as part of its admissions criteria. Ask whether the school to which you are applying has a Need Blind Admissions policy in place and find out more about how it works.
 
Financial aid programs are unique.
 
Because schools expect their fees to . . .read more
If you require financial aid in order  to send your child to private school, you will probably have to complete The Parents’ Financial Statement or PFS for short. The PFS instructions and application can be found on the School and Student Services web site.  School and Student Services is an offering of the National Association of Independent Schools. It gives you access to over 2,000 schools which use this service to assess the financial needs of parents applying for financial aid from individual schools.

What is really helpful about SSS is that you only have to complete the application once. There is a one time fee of $35. And if you cannot afford the application fee, the fee can be waived by using the special fee waiver code which the school will give you.

Complete the Application
The Parents Financial Statement Instruction Booklet walks you through each step of the process.  Remember that you only complete the PFS if the school asks you to. After completing the application, you pay for it - currently a $35 fee - and submit your application. This will do two things: it sends your application to the schools which you have selected and it gives you an estimate of the kind of aid which you can expect to be offered. Now, you must realize that the SSS estimate is only that. Each individual school will determine the amount of financial aid you will receive based . . .read more
The cost of a private school education ranges from virtually nothing at several free schools to well over $100,000 at a couple of exclusive European boarding schools. For the purposes of this article you and I will consider the tuition if we are looking at day schools. We will examine tuition and room and board only as we review boarding school costs. I am leaving out all the extras such as riding or music lessons, school trips, travel to and from the school, local transportation, health insurance, computers and so on. These sundries add up quickly so don't forget to take them into account. Also not included are acceptance deposits, application fees and admissions testing.
 
Here are some examples of what the various types of private schools charge. Remember that this is merely a sampling. You should explore every school which interests you as part of your school search process. Set aside financial concerns for the moment. Focus on finding the school which is the best fit for both you and your child. While paying for private school obviously is a major concern, you will discover that you will have a couple of options available to you.
 
One final bit of guidance: you will have to visit each school's web site in order to determine what the current costs are. Generally you can find that information under the admissions links.
 
Day Schools
 

Day schools are non-residential schools. Most of them offer classroom instruction Monday to Friday. Intramural sports and activities are fitted . . .read more

One of my young employees was horrified to discover that a certain Los Angeles day school charges $30,000 tuition. "How do they pay for that?" was his shocked cry. It's difficult for a 24 year old who's only making $40,000 to understand how families can afford college much less private school. So, exactly how does a family afford a private school education? Here are some ways they can make that special educational opportunity possible.

Scholarships
There are not many scholarships for K-12 private school students. Still, it is worth doing your research in this area to uncover the scholarships which do exist. Several states have programs set up which allow citizens to contribute to funding for private schools. Arizona and Washington offer special tax credits for gifts to private schools for scholarships.

Financial Aid
This is the most exciting part of the 'paying for private school' picture. Understand that each private school is independent. Each school stands on its own two feet financially speaking. That's why financial aid will vary from school to school. Older, established schools such as Andover and Exeter have substantial endowment funds. That's why they and a few other schools can offer a virtually free education to students who come from families which make below a certain amount. $75,000, for example. But you will have to visit the schools' web sites to find out the details. Better yet, call and ask.

Loans
If you are strapped for cash, . . .read more
The article in the New York Times sounds ominous. Certainly, as it points out, private school endowment funds have seen declines in their value as a result of the economic and financial meltdown of 2009. But there are other factors which the article does not address which make the impact on financial aid less of an issue than the writer would have you believe.

Let's look at the facts.

Conservative Investment Policies

The investment approach for private school endowments has historically been a conservative, cautious approach. Trustees and their advisors have generally been good stewards of their finances. They avoided risky investments such as derivatives and real estate despite calls from some quarters to maximize returns. The reason for the decline in their portfolio value is simple: just about every investment-grade instrument declined.

Sustainability

Back in the 90s, sustainability became an important principle in private school mission statements and philosophies. The National Association of Independent Schools has taken a leadership role in supporting all kinds of sustainability initiatives including financial sustainability with its 1,500 member schools.

From the Nais: "In order for independent schools to thrive in the 21st century, NAIS believes that they must be sustainable along five dimensions: financial, demographic, programmatic, environmental, and global."

As a result, schools with significant endowments (greater than $10 million) generally were well-positioned to weather the economic storm which 2009 brought on with a vengeance.

Financial Aid is a Priority
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Paying For It

Financial Aid

Paying for private school can be expensive and financial aid can be a huge help. Here we'll cover the financial aid options, how eligibility is determined and how it can affect the admissions process.

Financing Basics

There are several ways to finance a private school education, learn more about your options here. We'll explore some of the most expensive schools, explain why tuition is rising and show you how it's all paid for.

Free Schools and Scholarships

Don't let the cost of private school deter you, many schools offer scholarships. Explore scholarships, how they are funded and get a list of schools your child may be able to attend tuition free.